Sharpen Your Knife Skills to Avoid Injury

November 25, 2021
holidays

This content is courtesy of Mayo Clinic, the No. 1 hospital in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Middlesex Health is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This relationship provides us with access to information, knowledge and expertise from Mayo Clinic.

The kitchen can be a chaotic place during the holidays. With all of the cooking, baking and food preparation, kitchen knife mishaps can occur.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Mayo Clinic experts weigh in on how to avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency department for a kitchen knife injury.

People tend to do a lot more cooking around the holidays, and all of that chopping and carving in the kitchen can lead to more hand injuries.

"We've had patients who have, unfortunately, stuck a knife through their hand as it slipped," says Dr. Sanj Kakar, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon. "So we see a lot of these injuries happen over the holiday season."

Dr. Kakar says kitchen knife cuts can be serious, even devastating.

"In the hand, you know, it's very complicated. We worry about injury to bones, hand fractures, but other things, (such as) if we cut the tendon, which is the rope that moves our hands and fingers, or nerve injury or even blood vessel injuries."

Before you take a stab at carving up that tough autumn vegetable, make sure you're using the right technique. Mayo Clinic Executive Chef Jen Welper explains a common mistake people make while using a knife:

"Don't go straight down with your knife. Just kind of already make contact inside of it, and then help push down," Welper says.

She adds that using sharp knives to drive into what you're cutting will not only require less pressure but also can help keep the food or knife from slipping.

Some other tips to avoid hand injuries include:

  • Slice away from your hand and keep your fingers clear of the blade.
  • Never use the palm of your hand as a cutting board.
  • Keep your eyes on your cutting. Avoid distractions and alcohol.

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